Harry's Harmonies

24 July 2012

As a drummer I grew up listening to a lot of jazz artists. As time went on I began opening my eyes to a whole lot of different genres, from traditional to modern. These influences are seen in my drumming quite a bit, but they have also contributed to my writing and composing.

There are things I enjoy listening to for inspiration, and things I enjoy listening to because there’s a sound or something in particular that would be worth borrowing to add to my own musical voice. ‘The Lark Ascending’ is a piece by 20th Century English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, and is one of my favourite orchestral works to listen to. ‘Lulu’, by Austrian Composer Alban Berg is an early 20th Century composer who studied under Arnold Schoenberg, the developer of the twelve-tone technique.

There are many jazz artists I could mention, both early and late, but I’ll just mention a few that I enjoy. John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, Chick Corea. These artists have shaped my musical voice, and have helped me open my eyes to try new things. From the drumming of Dave Weckl (Chick Corea Akoustic Band, Elektric Band etc.) and fast hands of Chick Corea, to the catchy tunes from Dave Brubeck such as the 5/4 metered “Take Five), and “Seven Steps to Heaven” by Miles Davis.

There are so many ways to go about writing songs in our day and age. I have studied and have a passion for film-scoring, because there are so many options and so many possibilities that are open to the composer, in which to tell a story. It’s pretty much impossible to fit a detailed description of why artists have shaped the way I think about music from a composer’s perspective.

I definitely wouldn’t consider myself a distinguished composer, but I think that being able to listen and borrow from so many genres and musical styles helps to create your own voice. Find those motifs, ideas and themes that your mind or your heart would naturally return to if you were writing or composing.

Harrison Wood